When explaining how wormholes work in movies its pretty common to see someone taking a piece of paper, folding it, and sticking a pen (or any other object) through it to show the folding of space-time

I see this in almost every movie that deals with wormholes, but I'm wondering which movie was the first to use this technique? Specifically, I'm referring to the use of a piece of paper to explain how a wormhole works

The earliest I can think of is Event Horizon in 1997, but thats fairly recent and likely to not be the first

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    I'm pretty sure (but not 100% sure) that the book Flatland used this example to show how a long distance in 2 dimensions could be a relatively short distance in 3 dimensions.
    – user15319
    Jun 25 '18 at 17:20
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    The book A Wrinkle in Time (1962) used the "folding" metaphor as well, though I IIRC it was a piece of fabric with an ant crawling from one fold to another. Jul 23 '18 at 15:08
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    Someone tried to create a page for this on tvtropes (warning: TVTropes link) but it apparently didn't get enough interest.
    – Kenster
    Jul 23 '18 at 22:51

Does it have actually be called a wormhole or just behave like one?

Star Trek TOS 1967, would appear to be first to use it as a plot device, but they didn't name it.

The movie Contact was the same year as Event Horizon, & was based on the 1985 book by Carl Sagan, though he had been developing the movie before that, since 1979. & wrote the book because the movie stalled in production.

..or, late thought, do you mean the sheet of paper explanation, rather than the wormhole itself?

  • I should have been clearer in the question (edited) - I mean the paper explanation of how a wormhole works
    – Simon
    Jun 23 '18 at 11:37
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    hmm... ok - then the answer might just be Event Horizon, but I've no way to check that. I'll leave this answer here for now, but see if anything better comes along.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 23 '18 at 14:29

While involving travel in time rather than in space, Quantum Leap used a similar metaphor in 1991 ("Future Boy", Season 3, Episode 13):

Moe Stein: [on his theory of time travel] Time is like a piece of string. One end of the string is birth, the other is death. You put them together, and your life is a loop.

Admiral Al Calavicci: Sam, that's your theory!

Moe Stein: If I can travel fast enough along the loop, I will eventually end up back at the beginning of my life.

Admiral Al Calavicci: He-he's almost got it.

Dr. Sam Beckett: Uh, well, what... Let me ask you, what would happen if, um, you would ball the string, right? And then each day of your life... would touch another day. And then... you could travel from one place on the string to another, thus enabling you to move back and forth within your own lifetime, maybe.


I saw somewhere 1953 but they used a Scarf so "technically" the same concept overall when you need to explain how to fold space/time in the simplest way possible cannot beat a piece of paper LOL

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    LOL, the movie was circa 1953, and your answered the question at 19:53
    – elbrant
    Dec 31 '18 at 5:20

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